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LIBERTY, Mo. — A new health order for Clay County has relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, staying in sync with Kansas City as case numbers and hospitalizations decline.

Effective as of 5 p.m. on Feb. 21, the new order repeals previous limitations opposed on restaurants, events and gathering size. Mask requirements and social distancing still applies.

Restaurants and bars can now go back to normal hours, instead of closing at midnight. Indoor spaces are no longer limited to 50 people. There is no longer an upper limit on gatherings, as long as social distancing can be applied.

Clay County’s health order states that 19,819 people have tested positive and 267 people have died within the municipality. However, it says rates have dropped steadily and the weekly average continues to decrease, following trends in Kansas City, Mo. as a whole and the country at large.

Kansas City led the charge last week in relaxing restrictions. However, neighboring Jackson County has still not announced any change.

Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. stated that he would re-examine the current health order. He cited new strains that are even more contagious as part of the reason behind the hesitation.

He said residents should not expect a change, if there will be one, until late this week.